My point here is that we need to contribute more positive items to the world. Charity work, volunteer work, throw some money at a recurring problem, hell, give out free copies of the Atheist Manifesto, or The End of Faith ('cause let's face it, you can get all sorts of bibles for free, or next to nothing) sure, you get what you pay for and all, but when it comes to the Almighty Dollar, people ain't gonna pay extra for something unless the novelty value is extreme, and most think that we believe in "nothing," where's the value in that?).
Short version, is what I'm always trying to teach my 17-year-old niece: pick your battles. Choose the ones you can win.
A fair point, indeed. Incidentally, the esteemed Austin Cline also mentions the same sentiments that Ka points out, yet he still concludes that signing the letter would be a good thing overall:
Is there any chance that this petition will be successful? No, quite frankly, I don't think so. I'll grant that it's nice to imagine companies like Wal-Mart treating Christianity and Christian material in a manner that it ethical and intellectually consistent with how they treat other sorts of material. I agree with Aaron Kinney that the ideal situation would be for Wal-Mart to sell all the material, but also that if they going to ban some of it on the basis of sexual or violent content, then they should evaluate the Bible on the same basis. I doubt that it would survive such a review if conducted fairly and objectively.
That doesn't make this petition entirely worthless, though. If nothing else, it may draw people's attention not only to Wal-Mart's censorship policies and how they can negatively impact the distribution of information in America, but also perhaps some of the violence, sex, and hatred conveyed in the Bible. That's not such a bad goal to have as well.
I agree with both Ka's and Austin's sentiments, but I must respectfully part ways with Ka's conclusion.
Both Ka and Austin are right in that this letter has a snowball's chance in Hell of actually getting Wal-Mart to stop selling Bibles. I mean, even if I am wrong about the non-existence of God, surely I am not so delusional to think that this letter would get Wal-Mart to stop selling Bibles?
No, I am not. What I am fairly sure about, though, is that if enough people sign this letter, it will bring the atrocities of the Bible to the attention of the average Joe Six-pack American public. How many self-professed Christians in America are even aware that the Bible has stories of incest-rape committed on Lot by his own daughters? Surely, most self-professed Christians in America are aware that the Bible says not to work on the Sabbath, but how many of them are actually aware that the Bible proscribes execution for those who break the rule? How many self-professed Christians in America today are aware that the Bible says to execute non-Christians?
How many self-professed Christians in America today even realize that their own holy book would be banned from libraries and store shelves if their own anti-obscenity policies were uniformly enforced?
To me, this is about awareness. Not Christian awareness of atheism as Ka states, but Christian awareness of the contents of their own sacred book. Unfortunately, I didn't make this point clear in my original post about the Bible Letter. Instead I argued from effect: The effect of either having obscene books sold in Wal-Mart again, or the (unlikely) effect of having the Bible pulled from their shelves. But after some further thought on the issue, I think that awareness of the Bible itself and it's contents is definitely the most important point in this whole issue. Austin Cline seems to understand that rather well:
If nothing else, it may draw people's attention not only to Wal-Mart's censorship policies and how they can negatively impact the distribution of information in America, but also perhaps some of the violence, sex, and hatred conveyed in the Bible.
So, while I do respect Ka's decision and understand where he is coming from, I think that he should reconsider. I also think that any atheists who are hesitant to sign the letter should think long and hard about the importance of bringing the Bible's full contents into the thoughts of the average Joe Christian, and sign the letter just like Austin Cline, PZ Myers, and myself have done.